Future English

“Some undisciplintt fewp setch me, officah! ‘Z vrath smutt lait alcohol ‘n shradu chat ma calothas prrojectah! Wet des, eh? E kaal terrain ew e shreng?”

— The Centuries Unlimited.

The development of American English from 1900 to 2100 is characterized by phonological simplification, a shift toward isolating sentence structure, and the expansion of vocabulary. Major internal influences shift from London, England to the American Northeast to California to Black English and Spanglish to Globish to Krio and Inuklish. Major external influences shift from French to Spanish to Mandarin and Hindustani to Russian and KiSwahili.

Improvements in literacy, mass media, telecommunications, and transportation tend to standardize language from 1900 to 2000, while from 2000 to 2100, descriptivism, social networks, real-time spellchecking/translation, proxying/teleportation, and constructed personalities cause diversification.

Code-switching to indicate high education versus in-group solidarity leads people to adopt respectively more or fewer constructions from outside (for example “walk around” vrs. “perambulate”). Outslang (as it is most commonly called in 2100) indicates international education and a positive view of science and technology, while Inslang indicates group loyalty and homely charm.

Therefore:

1850-1950 Chicago upper class

She came into my life like a train wreck.

/ʃi ke:m ‘ɪntə mɑɪ lɑɪf lɑɪk a tɹe:n wɹɛk/

1950-2050 Chicago educated class

She came into my life like a train wreck.

/ʃɪ kʰejəm n̩t maə laəf laəkʰ ə tʃɹɛən ɹɜk/

2050-2150 Chicago outslang class

‘S arrived into my life likea a train wreck.

/s ɹavd n̩ʔ ma ‘lajef ‘l̥ajegə ə tə’rai.nə ɹæʔ/

Note that many alternate forms may be used by the same people at the same point in history. The changes documented below are only trends.

Grammar

In general, Outslang is more conservative, but sometimes introduces novelty through calques (usually from Spanish or other European languages, occasionally from Mandarin and Hindi)

Third person pronoun fusion. He/him, she/her, they/them > They > ‘S

Expansion of progressive aspect. Verbs become progressive by default: “He’s always doing this” rather than “He always does this.” Approaching the 2100s, this includes stative be: “He’s always being a jerk” rather than “He is a jerk.”

Pro-drop, progressive copula reanalysis as subject particle: “I’m walking” > “‘M walking”, “You’re getting arrested” > “‘R getting arrested,” “He’s being a jerk” > “S’ being a jerk” (subject marker is dropped when it is clear from context, e.g. “Vivek angry. Being a jerk.”)

Copula drop: “‘S angry” rather than “He is angry” (implying an unintentional condition, contrasting with “‘S being angry,” which implies some intent on the actor’s part)

Negative form reduction: “am/are/is not” replaced by “ain’t”, then just “not” (e.g. “I not a crook” ‘S not coming.”)

Subjunctive to conditional shift: “If I were to…, it would….” > “If I did…, it would…” > “If I would…, it would… > If d’…d’… (inslang), In case I’d (outslang)

Replacement of -ing genrunds with -tion nouns: “I love planning” > “I love plannification” (outslang)

“Get” Passives: “I am pleased.” > “I pleased” to indicate a state. “I get pleased” > “I getting pleased” to indicate a change in state.

Person vrs. Non-person possessive constructions: The actions of the person, the actions of the economy> The person’s actions, The actions of the economy (outslang), The economy actions (inslang)

Inanimate possessive constructions vrs Adjunct noun chains: The house of the dog (outslang) vrs. the dog house (inslang)

Relative clauses: The person who did, The rock which did> The person/rock that did> The person did

Emphatic vrs. Normal definite articles: teh, the

Bare generic nouns: “Telephone invented by Alexander Graham Bell” “Stork nesting in trees.”

Analytical comparatives and superlatives: bigger, biggest > more big, most big (outslang)

Topic-introducing preposition: As far as X is concerned > As far as X > Fars X

Future forms: shall V, will V > will V, be going to V > Be gonna V > a-V (inslang), go V (outslang)

Prepositional verbs: the park around which I walk > the park I walk around

Transitive particle: I listen to music, I look at the person, I eat the sandwich > I listen’t music, I look’t the person, I eat’t the sandwich

Question particle: What is this? > What this? > What this, huh?

Uncommon irregular verb regularization: (inslang)

Wed > wedded, wrought > wreaked, knelt > kneeled,

Past participle/past tense fusion: run/ran/run > run/ran/ran, come/came/come > come/came/came (outslang)

Common irregular verb reanalysis: (inslang)

-ite/-it/-it: light/lit/lit, bite/bit/bit, fight/fit/fit, glide/glid/glid

-t/-t/-t: put/put/put, fit/fit/fit, grit/grit/grit

-in/-un/-un: win/won/won, ring/rung/rung, sing/sung/sung, swim/swum/swum, bring/brung/brung, limn/lumn/lumn

-eeze, ise/-oze/-ozen: freeze/froze/frozen, squeeze/squoze/squozen, rise/rose/rosen

-ive/-ove/-ove: drive/drove/drove, dive/dove/dove, strive/strove/strove, thrive/throve/throve

eek/-uck/-uck: sneak/snuck/snuck, peek/puck/puck

ay/-aid/-aid: pay/paid/paid, lay/laid/laid

Transitive/intransitive pair collapse: lie/lay > lay, sit/set > set, rise/raise > rise

Must V (for necessities) > Have to V > Got to V > Gotta V, Need to V > Ga-V (inslang), needa V (inslang), Have it to V (outslang)

May V>might V (inslang), maybe V (outslang)

Ought to V > Should V

Might V > Should V

Would V > Used to V > Usta V > Sta-V

Would like to V > want to V > wanna V > wan-V

Be to V > Be supposed to V > sposeda V

Vocabulary 20th > 22nd

A > /ɜ/

A base > a basis (outslang)

A bill (money) > a <bil> (outslang)

A church (the building) > a <shorja> /’ʃewədʒə

A consequence > an alternative (inslang)

A gang (criminal) > a ganga

A leader (of a work crew) > a leeder (outslang)

A life (a person’s life from birth to death) > layef /’lajef/ (inslang)

A machine (a piece of junk) > a meshin /mɜ’ʃĩ/

A machine (an impressive piece of technology) > masheen /maʃi:n/ (outslang)

A machine (pejorative for AI) > a madge /’mjædʒi/

A market (outdoor shopping) > <a marqueta> /ma:gædə/ (inslang)

A market (economics) > a market (outslang)

a Nuisance (insult) > <niusins>, <nusince> /’njusins/

a Place > <a space> /spe:s/ (inslang)

a Projector (for light) > /pərə’tʃekətə/ (outslang)

A rogue (lovable) > badmash

A scene (entertainment) > staan (outslang)

A time train (a machine) > shíchē /’ʃítʃə̄/

A train (a machine on tracks) > teraine /tə’rainə/ (outslang)

A train (a time train as a place) > kaal teraine /ka:l tə’rainə/ (outslang)

A train of (a moving group of linked things, an old-fashioned train) > a train /ʃɹeẽ/ (inslang)

A trick on someone > <a deal> /’tio/ (inslang)

A truck (vehicle) > <a troca> /ʃɹ̠ewəgə/(inslang)

Actually > to be precise (outslang)

alcohol (booze) > <yalgal> /’jælgʌ/ (inslang)

alcohol (the chemical) > <alcohol> /’aləkohol/ (outslang)

An entertainment (small) > <a timepass>

An official way of doing things > <an arrangement> (outslang)

and (normal) > <n> /n̩/ (inslang)

and (precise) > <ant> /ants/ (outslang)

and (rude) > <eynt> /ejn̩ʔ/ (inslang)

Bad > <okay> /ewə’ge:/ (inslang)

Breath (of a person) > <brath> /βɹ̠æθ/

Bums (pejorative for underclasses) > <peebo> /’ɸi:bo/(inslang)

Children/Kids > youth (inslang)

Clothes (the opposite of nudity)> /kə’lo:ðəz/ (outslang)

Coherent > consistent (outslang)

Cool (good) > queer (inslang)

Dear > baby (outslang)

Defecting (economic state, polite description) >

Defecting (insult) > <bù zhāogòng> /bu: ‘ʒa:ogo:ŋ/ (outslang) <bizhagin’> /bʉ’ʒagin/ (inslang)

Different > various (outslang)

Excess stuff > more (outslang)

Fitting > adequate (outslang)

His > Z

Hopefully > eventually (outslang)

Huh (question particle) > /ɜ/

If > in case (outslang)

In the event of > in case of (outslang)

Insurance (medical, auto, etc.) > aseguranza

Life (biological life) > laife /’laifə/ (outlsang)

Like (similar to) > <like> /lajeʔ/ (inslang)

Like a (similar to a) > <likea> /l̥ajegə/ (inslang)

My > <ma> /ma/

Officer (honorific for armed person) > <officer> /’ofisa/, /’ewəfesə/

Or > /ewə/

People > persons (inslang)

Personal > intensive (inslang)

Phobic (insult) > <fobe> /’fewəʔ/ (inslang)

Ridiculous > cool

Some > /sʌm/ some

That (ano) > /djæʔ/

Thirsty (for alcohol) > glassy /’glasi/

This (kono) > /des/

This (sono) > /ðis/

Time, configuration space (medium through which one travels) > kaal /ka:l/ (outslang)

To arrive > to get here/there (inslang)

To be suddenly happy > kum /xɜm/ (inslang)

To come (enter) in/into > arrive /ɹav/ (inslang)

To come (in an abstract sense) > come /komə/ (outslang)

To come (move toward speaker) > ge’ ou here /kæ’dewəiə/ (inslang)

To cooperate with s.b. > to accord s.b. (outslang)

To define > to establish (outslang)

To finish a trip in a vehicle > to areeve /’aɹive/ (outslang)

To go (in an abstract sense) > go /go/ (outlsnag)

To go (move away from speaker) > ge’ ou there (inslang)

To guarantee > to ensure (outslang)

To harass > to tease (inslang)

To have (possess) > to dispose of (outslang)

To have lunch (business) > to lonch (outslang)

To hurry self-importantly > to dash (inslang)

To incite > to encourage (outslang)

To inform > to debrief (outslang)

To leave > to depart (outslang)

To look > to see (outslang)

To look at > to see’t

To make sure to > to ensure that (outslang)

To modify > to amend (outslang)

To move up (a meeting) > to prepone (outslang)

To nominate > to appoint (outslang)

To provide for an eventuality > to envisage (outslang)

To read (not for pleasure) > to see

To reduce > modulate (outslang)

To say (quotive particle) > go (S went hello!) /kewə/ (inslang)

To select s.b. > retain s.b. (outslang)

to Smell (intransitive) > <smal> /smʌ/

to Smell (transitive) > <smal’t> /smʌt/

To specify > to precise (outslang)

to Steal (intellectual property theft) > <steeu> /’stiu/ (inslang)

to Steal (physical theft, no violence) > <chat> /tʃjæʔ/ (inslang)

to Touch (come into contact with) > <tuch t’> /’tutʃət/

to Touch (flesh to flesh, gross) > <tech> /sɜtʃ/

To travel (for business) > airdash (outslang)

to Try to > <shraisu> /’ʃɹ̠ajesʉ/, past: /ʃɹ̠adʉ/ (inslang)

To turn off > to close

To turn on > to open

To watch > to see (outslang)

Undisciplined (insult) > <anushaasanaheen> (outslang) <nushasin’> /nʉ’ʃasin/ (inslang)

Undisciplined (psychological state, polite description) > <undisiplint> /ən’disɪpəlínts/ (outslang)

Unfortunate > <global> /’klewəbo/ (inslang)

What > /wɜʔ/

Phonology

Inslang

1)

Vowels

iː ɪ > e, iN uː > ʉ ʊ > ʌ

ɛ > æ, ɪjəN ə > 0C, C0, ə ɔː > a

æ > jæ, ejəN ʌ > ɜ ɑː, ɔ > a

eɪ > e: aɪ,ae > ajeT, aD/0 ɔe > ɔwə aʊ, ao > awə oʊ > ewə

ɪə > ejə eə > ejə əɹ̠ > ə

2)

Stop-palatalization

tj > tʃ

dj > dʒ

kj > x

gj > ɣ

pj > ɸ

bj > β

front vowel h-drop

hi,he > i, e

3)

Intervocalic stop voicing.

VtV > VdV

VkV > VgV

VpV > VbV

4)

Word-final sibilent metathesis

Vs/z/ʃ/ʒ+t/d/k/g/p/b > Vt/d/k/g/p/b+s/z/ʃ/ʒ

5)

Word-final stop glottalization

Vt/d/k/g/p/b > Vʔ

6)

R-effected stop affrication

tɹ̠ > tʃɹ̠

dɹ̠ > dʒɹ̠

kɹ̠ > kxɹ̠

gɹ̠ > gɣɹ̠

pɹ̠ > pɸɹ̠

bɹ̠ > bβɹ̠

7)

Unvoiced word-initial stop affrication.

t- > ts- > s- (sʃ > ʃ)

k- > kx->x-

p- > pɸ- >ɸ- (pβ > β)

Word-initial stop devoicing.

d- > t-

g- > k-

b- > p-

7)

Dentalization of initial labiodental fricatives

θ- > t-

ð- > d-

Sibiliant-effected deletion of labiodentals

sθ > s

zð > z

8)

Final velar nasal labiolization

Vŋ > Vn

9)

Voiceless-stop-effected nasal syllabication and stop deletion

t/dN>n̩

k/gN>ŋ̍

p/bN>m̩

10)

Final R drop

Vr > VV

Final L dropping

Vl > V(backing)w >V(backing)

11)

Word-final Nasalization

Vn>~V (nasal shwa > n̩)

Outslang (also used for emphasis)

Vowels

iː ɪ > i uː > ju ʊ > u:

ɛ > e ə > 0C, C0, ə ɔː > a

æ > a ʌ > ə, u ɑ > a

eɪ > eji aɪ >aji ɔɪ > oji aʊ > awu oʊ >o

(ɪə) > ijə (eə)

Intervocalic stop devoicing

VdV > VtV

VgV > VkV

VbV > VpV

Word-final stop devoicing

Vt/d >Vt

Vk/g > Vk

Vp/b > Vp

Initial and medial R-trilling

ɹ̠V/Vɹ̠V > rV/VrV

Final R dropping

Vɹ̠>V

Word-initial sibilant epenthesis

s/z/ʃ/ʒ > əs/ əz/əʃ/əʒ

Consonant cluster schwa-epenthesis:

stɹ̠ > əsətər

Glide-voicing:

J > i

W > u

Word-final stop affrication

Vt > Vts

Vk > Vkx

Vp > Vpɸ

 

Thanks animate-mush, official-data, tropylium, and Nikolay Kilyachkov,

 

See also David Peterson’s and Justin B. Rye’s much better future Englishes!

 

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